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Southern Deer Chili Recipe (No Beans)

Got thick and hearty chili on the brain? Try my dad’s southern deer chili recipe. It’s one of our favorite venison recipes, whether it’s deer season or not, and it’ll stick to your ribs and warm you from the inside out on those cold, rainy (or snowy) days.

Southern Deer Chili Recipe (No Beans)

Nailing Down Dad’s Southern Deer Chili Recipe

My dad is one of those who cooks without measuring anything, so getting this tasty chili recipe was no small feat. (Thanks, Mom!) He grew up in a large family so working him down to a smaller batch was also an accomplishment.

However, as with all great recipes, you always want to share the enjoyment, so it’s no surprise his most recent pot of thick chili disappeared in no time flat and we were wishing he’d made a larger batch. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this family treat.

The Ingredients for the Best Venison Chili Recipe

Southern Deer Chili Ingredients

All-in-all this is a pretty simple chili recipe, and you may already have quite a few of the ingredients on hand. You’ll find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, but for now, check your pantry for the following items:

How to Make This Easy Venison Chili Recipe

Once you have your ingredients gathered, you can embark on the fun part—throwing everything in a pot and enjoying the luscious scents that erupt.

In a large pot or sauce pan, brown your ground meat over medium-high heat. If you don’t have any ground venison, ground beef or turkey will also work. Just make sure to use very lean meat or drain any excess grease/oil from the pan once it’s cooked.

Easy Deer Chili step one

Next, add the rest of the ingredients — your tomatoes, seasonings, and sauces. (Save the corn starch for later.) A number of these will be “to taste” since everyone is a little different.

If you want your chili to have a little extra kick, add your favorite peppers, such as jalapeno peppers, bell pepper, cayenne pepper, red peppers, chipotle peppers, or simply substitute spicy chili powder for the regular.

Next, bring all your ingredients to a rolling boil over medium heat. Stir often with a wooden spoon (or plastic, not metal) to prevent the chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Thick and Hearty Chili step 3

You’ll need to let the chili boil for approximately 25 minutes to marry all the flavors together and remove some of the excess liquid. (This is a great time to make some southern-style cornbread or rice to serve up with your chili.)

There are Two Ways to Thicken Chili

One, continue boiling it down to the desired thickness (this can take a long time), or two, use cornstarch. (Flour works too, but you have to be careful about lumps. See the Q&A below for some tips for using flour.)

After smelling all that yummy goodness, we normally don’t want to wait, so we use the cornstarch method:

Taking a mug or glass measuring cup, add 1/4 cup (aka 4 tablespoons) of cornstarch. Next, add cool/cold water to the mug, and stir until all the cornstarch is blended in.

Pour your cornstarch liquid into the chili pot, stirring constantly, until the chili starts to thicken.

Southern Style Deer Chili in the pot

Serve Up This Savory Southern Deer Chili Recipe!

Let your chili cool slightly before serving. Dad’s southern deer chili recipe can stand on its own, but it also goes great with some cornbread, saltine crackers, tortilla chips, Frito’s, or even rice. Some of us have also been known to sprinkle cheddar cheese (colby jack or American cheese work great too) on top.

Southern Deer Chili Recipe (No Beans)

Store any remaining chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’ll keep for about four days. Actually, a lot of times it’s better the next day.

What People are Asking About This Hearty Venison Chili

“Can I make slow cooker venison chili with this easy recipe?”

Absolutely! However, I’d suggest using 10 fresh, large, peeled tomatoes instead of canned, and I’d cook my ground venison burger in a large skillet first before putting my ingredients in the slow cooker on low heat for about 8 to 10 hours.

“What other meats can I substitute for the pounds of venison?”

This recipe will also work well with ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, or even ground buffalo. You could probably even use ground goat meat or squirrel.

“What’s the best way to store leftover chili?”

You’ve got a few options. Deer chili is great, sometimes better, the next day, so feel free to store it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four days.

Another great way to preserve your chili is to can it. Simply put the leftover chili in pint jars (you may want it on the thinner side) and can it under 10 lbs. of pressure for 90 minutes in a pressure canner.

Freezing the chili is also an option. It’ll keep in the freezer for months.

“I don’t have any canned tomatoes on hand. What else can I use?”

You can substitute the canned tomatoes with about 10 fresh, large, peeled tomatoes.

If you’d like to use tomato sauce, simply use 2 cans of tomato sauce or tomato puree and one can of water.

Another option would be using 3 cans of stewed tomatoes. I wouldn’t suggest tomato paste because the tomato flavor would be too strong.

“I don’t have cornstarch. What else can I use to thicken the chili?”

You can boil the chili down to the desired consistency, or you can use flour. The trick to using flour is to put flour in a cup, thin it down with room-temperature water, then add a spoonful or two of chili to the cup. Mix it all together and then stir the flour mixture into the pot.

“Can I add beans to this southern deer chili recipe?”

Some people like beans in their chili. We’re not one of them. However, if you prefer, pinto beans, black beans, or kidney beans would work well in this easy deer chili recipe.

“Is this chili spicy?”

My dad loves spicy things. Growing up he’d make two pots–one spicy and one not. This is the not-spicy recipe. To make it spicy, add your favorite peppers, such as jalapeno peppers, bell pepper, cayenne pepper, red peppers, chipotle peppers, or simply substitute spicy chili powder for the regular.

Well, that about covers it for now, folks. Hope you enjoy this savory, family meal. Feel free to leave a comment and share what you prefer on or beside your chili.
Happy Trails!

Yield: 8-10 servings

Southern Deer Chili Recipe (No Beans)

Southern Deer Chili Recipe (No Beans)

This southern deer chili recipe is one of our favorite venison recipes, whether it's deer season or not. It'll stick to your ribs and warm you from the inside out on those cold, rainy (or snowy) days.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 3 lbs Ground Deer Meat
  • 3 pints Canned Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Chili Powder
  • 3/8 cup Honey (sweeten to desired taste)
  • 1/8 cup A-1 Sauce
  • 1/8 cup Heinz 57
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch


  1. In a large pot, brown meat and drain any excess grease/oil.
  2. Add all other ingredients except the cornstarch.
  3. Bring the meat mixture to a rolling boil, stirring often with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking.
  4. Boil for 25 minutes.
  5. To thicken, put the cornstarch in a cup and mix with water until dissolved.
  6. Pour cornstarch liquid into boiling chili and stir until chili thickens.
  7. Turn off heat and let set until ready to eat.


This thick and hearty deer chili serves up great with crackers, corn chips, rice, or cornbread.

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